The Post 79 Senior Legion squad lost a few games to close out the month of June, but when the calender turned to July, Madison flipped the script with a comfortable victory.
Post 79 hosted rival Guilford on July 6 and came away with a 9-0 shutout. Madison struck on consecutive extra-base RBI hits early in the bottom of the first to lead 2-0 before tacking on four in the fourth and sending two more across home plate during the sixth.
“I saw some good pitches out there. They were keeping the ball low, but if you stay back and keep your hands back, then you can adjust and really pull the ball away,” said Ray Miklos, who sparked Post 79’s offense with three RBI. “We have spent a lot of time together off the field as the summer has gone on, playing basketball or going to the beach, so hopefully more wins will come from that.”
Miklos led the offensive attack for Madison by driving in three runs on two triples and was also issued two free passes. Jonathan Girardi was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and Pat Nelson went 3-for-3 while driving in a run.
On the mound, Ryan McAneany pitched six scoreless innings, striking out a pair and only walking one. Magnus Grigor worked the last frame in 1-2-3 fashion to seal Madison’s fourth win of the summer.
“I was just throwing the ball low and kind of hard, yet I also thought I had some great off-speed stuff, so that helped me today,” said McAneany. “It really felt good to get a win today. Our energy was good and we have worked hard, so to get that victory felt good.”
Guilford (1 16) posed a first inning threat when it led off with a double and had a runner on third with one down. Madison (4-12) responded, though, with a strikeout and a pop-out to get out of trouble.
David Nuzzo led off the first for Madison with a single into left field, which was followed up by an RBI double from Brian Anderson (1-for-3, RBI, walk) and then a run-scoring triple by Miklos. The inning ended 3-0 in Post 79’s favor when Miklos scored on a passed ball.
“It was great to see the team actually hit the ball well and put up a good amount of runs because it’s usually not like that for us,” said Post 79 skipper Jeff Buck. “It was nice to also see kids more confident at the plate, getting out of slumps they were in and scoring some runs.”
Post 48 started the third with a leadoff base knock, yet it then grounded into a fielder’s choice, lined out, and got caught in a rundown between the hot corner and home.
With two men on and one down for the bottom of the fourth, Post 79 padded its lead at 5-0 when Miklos shot a bases-clearing two-RBI triple. Evan Lohn followed that up with a single to send another man home. Girardi then earned one of his two RBI on the day via a two-bagger.
After both squads went down in order for the fifth, Guilford created men on first and second with one out to open the sixth. Unfortunately for Post 48, McAneany got them to line out to short and hit into a force play.
“Day in and day out, Ryan [McAneany] is one of our workhorses. He gives us six or seven solid innings every time he comes out. He knows how to pitch, which is nice to see because not many at the high school level do,” Buck said. “Not many people with the wooden bats are going to hit the ball 500 feet, so he knows just to get it over the plate and let his defense do the work and his defense will most likely help him out.”
As Miklos started the sixth with a walk and Lohn also reached base, Girardi roped an RBI single. Two batters later, Nelson capped off the offensive outing for the home squad thanks to an RBI hit of his own.
Grigor started the final inning by issuing a base-on-balls, but he then induced a pop out and game-ending double play.
Coach Buck added that a recent six-day layoff helped Post 79 refocus both their minds and bats in order to put some runs on the scoreboard and a win in the Zone 3 standings.
“I think the long break helped us out. It got us to clear our heads a bit,” said Buck. “It allowed us to finally get back to basics with hitting the ball, getting on base, and scoring runs, so it was great to see.”
From the Sidelines
Madison previously swept Guilford in a doubleheader back on June 7 by 2-1 and 7-6 finals.
Post 79’s losses to close June came against Wallingford (5-2 loss on June 25), East Haddam (2-0 loss on June 27), splitting a double dip with East Haddam on June 28 (winning 3-1 and losing 3-0), and Wallingford (a 3-2 defeat on June 30).
In the Guilford contest, Post 79 sent down Post 48 in order three times.